Vital Signs looks at community’s health

Vital Signs held a town hall meeting on May 14 at CanPar in Grand Forks.

Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor (centre) and several other local residents fill out questionnaires about 11 key areas regarding life in the Boundary at the Vital Signs town hall meeting on May 14.

Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor (centre) and several other local residents fill out questionnaires about 11 key areas regarding life in the Boundary at the Vital Signs town hall meeting on May 14.

Although the turnout wasn’t huge at the Grand Forks Vital Signs town hall meeting on May 14 at the former Canpar building, there was some great feedback and interaction among those who were in attendance.Vital Signs, which is sponsored by the Phoenix Foundation along with other organizations, is an initiative under Foundations Canada.“It’s basically a tap on the health of the community in 11 different areas such as housing, learning and the gap between the rich and the poor,” said Doug Lacey, co-chair of the Vital Signs steering committee. “We’re able to use the data (that we compile with) town hall meetings and forums to get people’s voices. We’ll also be going into the high schools and getting the voice of youth.”In 2009, Vital Signs released their first report in the Boundary. The town hall meeting is another step towards the group releasing their second report later this year. “I thought there was good conversation,” said Lacey.  “We’ve got our project manager (Carly Olsen) who is tabulating the gut check result in the 11 areas. After that, people shared and came up with ideas which we collected; thoughts and ideas on how individuals and organizations could improve in the 11 areas.”Lacey said the committee will use the data to see how the community is doing in those 11 areas.“Since we (last did the report) in 2009, this will be a check to see how we’ve done in five years,” he said.The steering committee will receive most of the data in July.“We will take a look at the data, the indicators, and start to do some discussion around the trends between 2009 and 2014,” said Lacey. “What we’re doing is putting some of that data and statistics and the voice of the community and youth out in this little publication and let people and organizations however they choose.”Lacey said the Phoenix Foundation uses the Vital Signs data to help the grants committee decide on which grant applications to select.“The City of Grand Forks may look at it to see areas or initiatives they may want to take on to improve the community,” he said.